Championship wrap: Burnley secure fortuitous draw at Forest
Championship wrap: Ben Barker reflects on this weekend's action which saw Burnley draw at Nottingham Forest
Burnley fortunate to draw at Forest
Table-toppers Burnley were lucky to leave Nottingham Forest’s City Ground with a point, as the hosts totally outplayed their opponents but couldn’t score the winning goal. Despite finishing with a dominant 64 per cent possession, it was Forest who conceded first, as Sam Vokes took his season tally into double figures from the penalty spot. Gonzalo Jara was the man at fault, raising his arm as he attempted to block Kieran Trippier’s cross, and Vokes made no mistake from 12 yards. After Simon Cox squandered a good opportunity to draw his side level, he made sure to make his next chance count, sending his header into the net from Jamie Paterson’s hanging cross just before half-time. Both sides went toe-to-toe after the break, as respective goalkeepers Ken Darlow and Tom Heaton earned their wages with some excellent saves. Scott Arfield came closest for the Clarets with a thumping effort, before a goalmouth scramble let Jamie Mackie in for Forest. Things ended square in the end, but Burnley manager Sean Dyche will be the happier of the two, with his side allowing Forest 19 shots in comparison to their four.
Third win for Bolton means third loss for Watford
Manuel Almunia’s clanger on the half-hour mark gifted Bolton a third consecutive win, while similarly condemning his side to a third consecutive loss. Last season’s play-off finalists were looking to reignite their promotion cause with a victory over a Bolton team reinvigorated after a slow start. The match was unspectacular until Almunia seemingly gathered Neil Danns’ innocuous looking cross, before letting it squirm between his legs and allowing Jermaine Beckford to score from close range. Watford up their efforts to try and get back into the match before the break, and Fernando Forestieri came closest with a curling shot. Almunia was replaced at half time (with a reported illness) by England Under-21 keeper Jonathan Bond, and it wasn’t long before the 20-year-old was called into action. Neil Danns had a pair of chances to add his name to the scoresheet, but failed to take them, while Adam Bogdan again denied Forestieri at the other end. As Dougie Freedman waxed lyrically about Beckford’s poaching ability, Gianfranco Zola will look to address his side’s attacking play, with just one shot on target in 90 minutes.
Wednesday yet to keep clean sheet
Huddersfield won the latest round of Yorkshire derbies by beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1, and ensuring that the Owls remained the only team left in the Football League yet to keep a clean sheet this season. Martin Paterson gave the visitors the early lead when he latched onto Adam Clayton’s smart pass, though the Northern Irishman was fortunate not to have been flagged offside. It was a combination that would have delighted all at Huddersfield, as Clayton and Paterson returned to action for the first time since a training ground altercation between the pair. After the 11th-minute goal, the game hit a lull in predictable fashion – both sides winning just once in their last eight games. Sheffield Wednesday made two changes at half-time in an attempt to get back into the game, but it was Clayton who turned scorer to give Huddersfield a two-goal lead, smashing a rebound home past debutant keeper Damian Martinez. Connor Wickham scored a well-worked free-kick in the final minute for the hosts, but it proved to be little more than consolation for Wednesday and Dave Jones, who will be feeling the pressure after yet another defeat.